My daughter was born shortly after Hillerød Tri 2011 which of course naturally shifted priorities. I trained on and off for a year following – 32 km bike commute and swimming and running every now and then. October 2012 a new triathlon club started in Lyngby and I was ready to get some more consistent access to a swimming pool as well as some socializing: All of the above were great races and I had a blast but I were ready for something more again. 2013 came and went but a bout of the flu kept me from Ganløse Tri’s “Tri på Tyren” and nothing more where scheduled.
When 2014 was well under way(Late march) and most exisisting races above sprint distance were sold out (For example Øresund Triathlon, Ironman 70.3 Århus etc) and I didn’t have the guts for Full Distance Fyn and other “complete” distance races I was happy to see a new Triathlon, CPH:Triathlon, 1800m swim, 90km bike and 21,1 km run was being prepared in Kastrup I decided to signup thereby getting some distant goal to focus the training around.
The base training was based on:
- Commute to work (2x 16km) 5 days a week
- One “long” ride with LSK-Tri sundays
- 2-3 runs
- 1-3 swimming sessions with LSK-Tri in the pool
The runs were mostly based on “whatever” I felt like on the day – the swimming around the program made by the poolside coach on the day. Often 2x 1 hour with about 2-2.5k of technique and distance.
As the date drew closer I started looking for some kind of program to get some specific structure into the program towards race day. I settled on an “intermediate” program from tri-radar: “Your Best Ever Ironman 70.3 Training Plan” – a 12week program.
First off I threw away all the swim sets and at first kept on following the pool program of the day and last followed the open water program with LSK-Tri. That was the easiest way for me to actually get any of the sets done.
Then I took a chance and decided to move around the sets within the week to actually fit within my normal weeks and hoping to not compromise too much dedicated recovery etc.
At first I struggled quite a lot adjusting to doing any intensity in the run sets. I felt sluggish and the intensity took it’s toll. Most likely a symptom that I needed it
Another “issues” that took some getting used to was that the program only prescribed 2 run work-outs per week. That made it quite a lot easier to actually get it done so that was a huge plus but took some getting used to.
Most of the bike training-sets were based around either x-hours of half-ironman pace or some interval sets. I really enjoyed the interval sets – and couldn’t stand the x-hour TT alone sets. Looking back I should have ditched those workouts and just adapted the group-training-sessions with the club to encompass the same time/intensity goals.
The long bike training sets left me flustered and demotivated, insecure and quite convinced that anything below 2h50 minutes bike-split in the half-ironman distance race would be impossible.
Apart from that the intense(for me) running sets left me quite exhausted but also the fastest I’ve ever been – for me that doesn’t mean much – 5m20s / km for the half-marathon around 1h52 minutes.
As I the previous years have rented a swimming-wet-suit for the season I this year decided to buy one. I try to use our local shops and triatlonsport.dk (and the owner is an extremly nice guy) had these cool Z3R0D wetsuit and I decided on the “entry”-level Atlante. It seems to fit me quite fine and I love that some color has been incorporated into the design.
On the bike front I had some issues getting a new fork (don’t ask) for my Canyon CF Pro so I ended up buying a completely new bike two weeks before race-day while still waiting for the fork.
I managed a couple of good workouts on the new bike and a bike-fit really hit the spot – the new bike feels awesome!
My parents arrived the day before – ready to join my family-cheerleading squad. With regards to food etc. I decided on going with a “i’m 75% LCHF most of the time – leading in to the race i’ll just be MCHF and eat like most people” instead of any “carbo-loading” etc. That being said, to me 5-6 hours of racing doesn’t really warant any extreme measures.
I took a guest bed in our house for the night to not wake up the rest of the family when my alarm went off at 5AM racemorning. Normal breakfast + toast with nutella and a banana and some sis energy drink and coffee to go with that. Then into the car and towards Dragør with a brief stop to pick-up my race-colleague from LSK-Tri, Trine, which had been so kind to pick up my number and stickers saturday.
Running a bit late and driving in MASSIVE rain we were both anxious and exited – with short time to spare – but we made it. A fast entry to T1 to set up the bike and prepare the transition-bag for easy-access.
Then it was a short jog towards the start area as the start time was comming close. As I entered the “arena” (like a outdoor pulic bath house) the first wave of swimmers had just started and my swim wave was in the water getting ready – so I hurried (as seen on the first image below) to get my gear ready and get into the water. Before we started we saw the peculiar sight that the first swimwave 200m directly out in the water suddenly came out of the water and were walking. But then it was our turn to start to swim. The water was quite restless, waves and rain clouds alround. At the start the mandatory roughing and boxing started but the worst part was that it was almost impossible to see the buoys because of the waves. As we were nearing the first buoy it became obvious to me that we were almost going the wrong way around and had to correct quite alot to pass the buoy to my port-side :). From there we headed “to sea” and at the next buoy we were also forced to walk due to the shallow water. Then a long stretch to the other side with waves and waves and waves (and a bit better space around us). This was the part were I was thinking “now I’m ready to be done with swimming” – but alas – still more swimming to go. At last we turned the last buoy and we headed towards shore. As we were 200m out from the water-exit the water again turned to shallow and we ran in less than knee high water the last 100-200m. Somewhat illustrated in the second picture below.
A short run and then time to leave the wetsuite in the transition bag. I decided before hand to put on socks already in T1 so that took some time. On the other hand, for the first time, I tried using tri-shoes with rubber bands attached to avoid running in bike-shoes. I had practiced it and it worked fine. As expected one of the elastics needed a bit of help to break and then I was off.
As I jumped on the bike I kind of started not entirely centered to use my leg as a buffer from the impact. Turns out that might not have been the best of ideas. 2 minutes later I could feel the same inner thigh acting up and a cramp was starting. The speed was great and on all other fronts I felt great. The rain had stopped and the sun was comming out.
At the first aid station the cramp was more or less setting in full throttle and I was trying all kinds of stuff while telling my self to stay calm, keep breathing etc. Then followed 10k biking with one leg etc. while I tried to get a handle on the cramp. At 20k I finally pulled over and started massaging and stretching while everybody passed my by. Out of all the people passing me by 5-10 women all slowed down and asked me if I was ok. I don’t know if anything can be concluded from that but I really appreciated the sentiment and nodded and said that I was ok.
10 minutes later I could feel that the cramp left and I was left with a sore muscle but workable legs so I took my time getting back up on the bike and started pedaling again.
The bike course was 3 lap course mostly around Amager Fælled with a part along the outer parts of the dike(?) and with the “bird reservation” behind the dike. Very scenic place but potentially windy and not with the widest of roads (bike/foot size road). As it turns out when I got up to speed we arrived at the dike and I checked my average – 20k in 40 minutes. At the time in the “race” I was ecstatic that I was able to overcome the cramps and were very happy that I didn’t have to DNF or other drastic measures.
At the dike I repassed lots of people and unfortunately also 2-3 groups of people drafting in the head wind. I might have said something about it as I passed but all in all it was great to be back at speed and from there on I didn’t really feel the cramps any more.
My fueling strategy for the bike was: 1+L of fluid per hour. Preferably ½L of energy and half a liter of water. On the bike I had two bottle cages for fluids and one for my tools. When i started the bike I had my own energy – 1 with energy-drink, 1 with gels. At each aid-station I would then hopefully be able to exchange a bottle for two bottles – one with water and one with energy – fitting one bottle in my backpocket for a while and one in my aerobar cage. Every hour I would start an energy bar (actually it was mars bars!) and every 20 minutes take a zip of my gel-bottle.
It worked out somewhat OK, but I was kinda forcing the pace a bit to get back up to speed and at the end had trouble getting down more sweet things along with a rumble in the stomach. I still had perhaps one or two gels left in the bottle and was perhaps one bottle of energy behind. It felt ok at the time.
Off the bike, in to the shoes and straight into an aid-station where Rasmus Henning came trucking along with his 1h116m half-marthon almost done. I jumped out of the way and started drinking coke. The humidity and the temperature was opressing but I tried starting out “on pace”.
As mentioned above the heat was opressing. That’s pretty much it for the run. Overheating, drinking coke and slow running I was looking forward to seeing my family and at 4 laps with a narrow loop on it I could see them sometimes twice on the same loop. That was awesome. As the run moved along and we were running on small suburbia-roads with houses on both sides people were sitting and cheering in their driveways and in the end many brought out the gardenhose so people could be cooled down a bit. Quite the spectacle but it was very nice!
At the finishing lap I was spent – I fought and fought to get back running after walking through the aid-stations, but at least I was passing heaps of people walking lots of the way.
At the finish-line I passed through and couldn’t see my family – they got lost on the way to portal and arrived a couple of minutes after me The nausea came rolling along (and I kinda expected it as I had felt it on my brick sessions in training too) and I just had to sit in the shade, sip water and stare emptily out in the air.
As I recovered a bit I was ready to leave the athletes area and went to collect my bike and load up the car. Then it was time to go fetch ice-cream – especially my daughter was looking forward to that. All in all she had been a bit bored but on the other hand had enjoyed being out with her farmor and farfar. After icecream and water it was time to head towards Virum and a great hot day was done.